"We only have three" I said. The sweet, homeschooling mentor-sage we were having dinner with was asking everyone at the table how many children we all had. "FOUR!" my heart shouted. "You have FOUR!" I smiled as everyone else answered. "We have six", "We have seven", "We have five with one on the way". Then. "We have seven. We have six at home. We lost one in between five and six". Oh, I wish I could have been that brave.
I lost a baby two-and-a-half years ago. Well, eight hundred and sixty-four days, but who's counting. After way too long foolishly thinking we were in control, repenting, and praying, I got pregnant. I adore bring pregnant. I savour the fatigue and the heartburn. I was even thankful for the nausea that came when I had chocolate. And even better, my brother's wife was pregnant too. Due the week before I was. Christmas was going to be so much fun.
Then came the emotional crash I didn't have time to swerve to avoid. I lost our baby at nine weeks.
It happened on a holiday weekend. When Marshall went to church on Sunday, naturally he shared our loss with our church family. Almost immediately they started calling, sharing their own stories of heart break. They sent cards expressing heart-felt sympathy for our loss. Some friends even brought food, knowing I couldn't even get myself off the couch long enough to even care what anyone else was going to eat. Friends emailed Marshall, noticing I was spending an inordinate amount of time on the Internet all night long. I am so thankful for a church that truly values children. As much as I love my church family, it was more than a month before I could bear to be back in church. It took every ounce of strength to walk in the door. I only did it because Marshall is a deacon and my absence was very conspicuous. And he pretty much made me. We sat in a different place-Providentially I'm sure. I was plopped in the middle of two VERY pregnant women who both made eye contact with me and hugged me. I cried all the rest of the way through the service. I felt like God was mocking me. Pregnant women and lots of children all around me. The music speaking of God's love and promises. It was so many months more before I could get through a service without crying. Well, crying is not really the word. Sobbing uncontrollably describes it better. Now, two years later, I still cry in church. I still cry when I see my adorable nephew because I can't help comparing him to my baby that would have been born at the same time. I still cry after baby showers. Sometimes I cry in Kroger. I'm crying right now. It's still painful.
I wish I could say that I'm in that place that some of my friends are. Some of them are so brave. Some carry many children a year and lose them. Some know they won't be able to carry a baby to term but are genuinely thankful to be allowed to carry a soul that will live eternally. No, I'm still in that place where I want to stamp my feet and scream to get my way. I want the Lord to stop making me be around 20-somethings who say, "I know how you feel. I lost a baby before too" as they caress their swollen belly. I want to shout at them, "But you're 25!! I'm 43!!" *stamp* I want the Lord to stop allowing barely-teen aged girls to get pregnant and get their own reality-TV show. *stamp* I want the Lord to take into consideration that I love being pregnant. I'm not one of those whiny pregnant women who complain about being tired, or nauseous, or fat, or uncomfortable, or can't wait for it to be over, or this or that. *stamp* I want the Lord to reward me for repenting from preventing His blessing and allow us more children. *stamp stamp* I want the herbs, oils, and supplements to work. I want to somehow go back in time to when my eggs were healthier and and maybe we wouldn't be so stupid. I want. I want. I want. *stamp stamp stamp*
But, none of that happens. My heart is still broken. Shattered. Crushed. Ground down into a fine powder. Scattered to the four winds. And all over again every 29 days.
"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" Psalm 34:18.
Slowly, I am working through this grief. Very. Slowly. Not only of a child I will never hold in my arms, or kiss his sweet face. But grief knowing that the time when I could conceive and bear children is coming to a close. Grief knowing that we foolishly denied what the Lord calls a blessing. Grief over sin. Thankfully I know that God forgives sin. He forgives the sin, but sometimes we still have to walk through the painful consequences. God, in His sovereignty, can do all His Holy Will. He is still near when my heart is broken.
I am, and always will be, Mother of Four.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I have spent the last couple of weeks contemplating. Maybe it's because I'm 40-something. Or maybe it's because I've been to several weddings and funerals lately. Or, maybe it's because I'm coming to a point in my life where I'm seeing things shift. My children are almost all taller than I am. People who are my peers are retiring from their jobs. My 25th class reunion was recently. I am no longer expected to take everyone with me everywhere. No more diaper bags or car seats. I am reminded monthly that there are no more babies in our future. So, what comes next? Yes, I am still training my children and growing every day as a helpmeet to my sweet husband. Mind you, I'm not at all discontent, I am just in need of some girlfriends. Not the high school I'll-only-like-you-if-you-wear-your-hair-this-way kind, or the whiny, nothing-is-going-my-way, my-husband-is-so-awful kind. I am seeking those kinds of friends who will be brutally honest with me. As in. "Sheryl, why are you still wearing the same clothes you wore in high school?" Or, "Honey, get in the car! You're coming with me for an intervention-lip wax!" Friends who will exhort me and point me to scripture when it's needed. Friends who will save up their vacation time to spend an annual weekend together where we just pick up where we left off last year. Friends who will serve food at my relatives' funerals so that I won't be burdened to do it. Friends who will attend my children's weddings and cry with joy alongside me. Friends who will answer my calls or texts at all hours. Share books with me. Laugh or cry with me. Share secrets with me. Play Bridge with me. OK, maybe not Bridge. Maybe it's because I don't have sisters. Maybe I have some crazy romantic notion about having a group of friends who will love me when I'm 97. Who knows? So, if you think you're up for it, and you won't just whine about your husband, give me a call. Apply here. Maybe we can learn to play Bridge together. :-)